|Apparently that dark streak is a more recent flow. Currently nothing is flowing into the ocean.|
|The holes look way too small to be burying an umbilical cord in them. Maybe they were shriveled up or something when they buried them? No idea.|
|My little backpack|
|You are asked to not go past the sign because it's hazardous. Presumably because of the poisonous gases.|
|At first we were just looking at the beach from up above, but then we spotted this sea turtle and knew that we were going to have to go down there to get a closer look. Unfortunately you couldn't see any turtles from the beach.|
|We had to wade across this little stream to get to the second beach area.|
|The first beach|
|The second beach which was not at all visible from the road, but beautiful.|
|A little peninsula that separated the two beaches, but was weirdly kind of obscured from view while at the first beach.|
|Another shot at the second beach area.|
|Underneath those tree branches is actually a short little lava tube.|
|A little stream on the way to Akaka Falls|
|Kahuna Falls, a less spectacular waterfall you pass on the way to Akaka.|
|Akaka falls from a distance.|
The next morning was our last day of vacation. We packed up, checked out, and left the park for the last time. We drove straight out to a beach we had read about where, by all accounts you can see a ton of sea turtles. It was also a black sand beach, which we thought was beautiful, but in a very odd kind of way. Even Vivian couldn't stop staring at the ground while we were walking around. The sand is of course, black because it is made from little bits of lava rock, which also makes it sparkle. There were signs there asking you not to remove sand, so I guess we aren't the only ones who like it.
There were in fact a lot of sea turtles at that beach. We probably saw 7 or 8, but none of them came to shore. We were there for a couple of hours, and though a few of them got very close to shore, they stayed in the shallow water.
Interestingly enough, to us anyway, the crabs on that beach were also black, to blend into the black rocks and sand.
When we were done exploring the beach in it's entirety, checking out all the little tide pools for the different little fishes and and such we decided it was time to leave. We needed to get lunch, and we wanted to find another beach somewhere closer to the ocean where we could take a final swim.
We drove back to Kona, ate lunch, and began our hunt for a swimming beach. Our first few attempts landed us in a boat harbor, and then in the middle of a tourist district where there was plenty of shoreline, but no beach. We were running out of time, but finally found a beach. We changed into swimsuits in the car, and somehow managed to avoid being exhibitionists, but that was luck more than skill. If anyone had ventured closer to the car, it would have been a very interesting experience for them. Who knows, maybe they did and we just didn't see them.
|Punalu'u Black Sand Beach|
|Vivian seemed quite wary of actually touching the black sand, but after a few moments of deliberation couldn't resist.|
|After multiple failed attempts, Justin finally got a good shot of one surfacing for air.|
|I think the black makes them look even creepier.|
|On the other side of the beach, was this pond, that I thought was very pretty.|
At the beach we had found the water was warm, the waves were calm enough, but about three feet in it became horribly rocky. We swam in a couple of times and then gave up on it. We moved down that beach to the next lifeguard tower, and there were big pools of water with sandy bottoms in the shallow water. We took Vivian in and the three of us sort of bobbed around in there for an hour or so and then rushed to the airport. We had rinsed off, but in a hurry, so we both ended up with big patches of skin crusted up in salt, and my hair, of course looked even more lovely than usual. All the same, we arrived on time, got checked in and made it through security without incident. We really liked the Kona airport, it's tiny, and everything is outdoors. These pictures were taken waiting at our gate, and they are our last from the vacation.
The return flight connected back in Honolulu, and because everything in that city seems to be a hassle, we once again spent an entire layover walking from the far end of one terminal to the far end of the other. There is a shuttle, but it was unclear whether or not you had to go back through security if you used it. We determined that we didn't have enough time to take the risk. Once again we showed up at our gate tired, sweaty, and frazzled, with an energetic baby. Thankfully, she slept almost the entire flight home, and we arrived back in Salt Lake 8 days after departure, grateful to see that spring seems to have finally made it's arrival. Now if only we could figure out how to get Vivian back on Utah time...
|Vivian showing off her little pedicure that she received while sleeping. It was the only way to get them painted.|